For decades, Palestine has been facing a protracted and complex protection and humanitarian crisis. The crisis is tied to prolonged occupation, internal political divisions, and recurrent conflict that pose a threat to stability and development of the Palestinian people.
Humanitarian conditions in Gaza are critical following a sharp upsurge in violence in the region in early October. Food and water are running out, shelters for displaced people are massively overcrowded and, without fuel, there is no electricity. Health services are collapsing. In the West Bank also, conditions are deteriorating, and food is running short.
Prior to this phase of conflict, the collapse of all productive sectors, basic social services and infrastructures in Gaza was alarming. Poverty and food insecurity in the Strip affect 59.4 percent and 63 percent of the population respectively.
The continuous large-scale security, political and economic unrest in the West Bank and the 15-year sea, land and air blockade on the Gaza Strip have resulted in economic stagnation, loss of land and restricted trade and access to resources, along with high unemployment and poverty rates. These circumstances continue to exacerbate the already dire humanitarian situation and pose serious challenges to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 2 in regards to food security and improved nutrition.
Already vulnerable to external shocks, Palestinians’ purchasing power has significantly decreased in the face of the global food crisis following the conflict in Ukraine. After exhausting coping mechanisms and economic means to slightly bridge this gap, nearly one-third of the population – 33.6 percent, or 1.84 million people – are food insecure. Food insecurity is high among women – 36 percent of families headed by women are food insecure –particularly in the Gaza Strip, where 63.3 percent of women-headed households suffer food insecurity.
The humanitarian conditions in Gaza, and
Poorly diversified diets are causing overlapping nutritional problems. According to national surveys, nearly 50 percent of those assessed had very low levels of essential minerals and vitamins.
The World Food Programme (WFP), through its dual mandate in humanitarian and development, provides life-saving food assistance to the most vulnerable and food insecure non-refugee Palestinians and works to safeguard livelihoods, build resilience, and reconstitute food systems in vulnerable areas. WFP also lends its technical expertise to support national institutions by strengthening their capacities in responding to shocks and building an inclusive social safety net.
To further strengthen the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, WFP is providing climate-smart agricultural assets such as hydroponics and wicking beds to households to increase their calorie intake and enable them to generate income. WFP also scaled up its resilience-building activities to include greenhouses, vegetable farms, sheep, poultry, and technical and vocational trainings for youth and people with disabilities. These projects reduce people’s vulnerability to external shocks, serve as a safety net, and support livelihoods.
In parallel, WFP is running a social behaviour change campaign targeting school children and pregnant, lactating, and women with children under age five with awareness and cooking sessions, greenhouses, and community activities to improve nutritional health and combat food insecurity.
WFP provides its robust systems to humanitarian and development partners, allowing them to reach more people faster, and at a lower cost to donors and the environment. By offering its cash-based transfer platform to the wider humanitarian and development community, coordinating logistics, and developing an inter-agency common feedback mechanism, WFP contributes to the wider efforts for humanitarian-development-peace nexus.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Palestine
WFP continues to provide unconditional food assistance through electronic vouchers, multi-purpose cash assistance and in-kind food parcels to severely food-insecure Palestinians. WFP empowers Palestinians to make the right nutritional choices and be drivers of their overall health through a nutrition-focused social behaviour change communications project that advocates, raises awareness and provides tools for targeted groups to improve nutritional health.
WFP provides livelihoods interventions, such as climate-resilient agricultural assets and training, to households and smallholder farmers, equipping them with skills and tools to navigate and adapt their livelihoods to climate shocks and stressors. Through partnering with national institutions and local NGOs, WFP scaled up its resilience-building activities to include greenhouses, vegetable farms, sheep, poultry, and technical and vocational trainings for youth and people with disabilities. By introducing livelihood initiatives in Palestine, WFP helps enable the people we serve to access more basic needs while also boosting the local economy.
WFP significantly expands its support to national institutions and promotes capacity-strengthening activities. WFP provides tools, guidance, and technical expertise to enhance national institutions' ability to monitor and analyze food insecurity, strengthen the National Social Safety Net, and expand livelihood projects to support national partners in protecting food systems.
As a key enabler for the humanitarian response across sectors, WFP has built robust systems to create effective and efficient means of reaching targeted populations for actors involved in the implementation of the Humanitarian Response Plan for Palestine. Through its robust and reliable cash-based transfer (CBT) platform, WFP supported humanitarian and development actors in reaching more Palestinians in need, efficiently and cost-effectively, across different sectors. WFP also provides logistics coordination and an inter-agency community feedback mechanism to partners.
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